Sat 17 Sep 2022 3:56PM

Bacterial Nanowires for Organic Electronics

J JohnL Public Seen by 48

Hey, hope my first post is going where it needs to. That aside, I had an idea for a less conventional project: Biological electronics. In particular, using nanowires from Geobacter as components for self-powered logic gates and maybe even Arduino architecture micro-controllers. However, I'd need someone to culture E. coli to produce the nanowires (see linked paper). Also attached to the context is a document outlining the idea further.

Microelectronics currently requires costly infrastructure and specialized design skills. This greatly increases economic vulnerability and strategic dependencies, as well as removing the ability of an end-user to comprehend the device... By constructing logic gates of electrically sensitive microbes and proteins, a parallel computing architecture can be reconstructed without the need for costly, conventional cleanrooms and industrial facilities.

Happy to detail more if anyone is interested. Thanks!


JohnL Sat 17 Sep 2022 3:56PM

Thanks everyone!


Glyxon Biolabs Sun 18 Sep 2022 2:07PM

Hello, John, I'm interested! could we have a discussion with further details? you can write me to [email protected] so we can arrange a video call. Thanks!, David.


Danny Mon 19 Sep 2022 7:12PM

If possible perhaps you can schedule this discussion using the tools available over Loomio? There is a "time poll" option under the Start Poll tab. I for one would also like to attend if I am available (and can facilitate if necessary). Although please do not feel any pressure to find a time between a large group, I just think it would be mutually beneficial (and indeed aligned to BwoB ideals) to open up communication with the group.


adrian Mon 19 Sep 2022 1:38PM

I guess your first step is to contact the authors and ask them
nicely for the plasmids. So start there.

Culturing the ecoli is relatively simple and I can do it or
direct somebody in doing it. Purification seems to have several
options that would require some reagents. They do not seem to be
very complicated but will need to be acquired.




JohnL Mon 19 Sep 2022 8:54PM

Hi Adrian, here is what I am looking to replicate. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/856302v1.full.pdf


Danny Mon 19 Sep 2022 8:48PM

@JohnL Can I share the research proposal you shared with me on the Ronin Scholar Slack here? It might be useful to give folks a better idea of what you are thinking about.


JohnL Mon 19 Sep 2022 8:54PM

Yes! @Danny Go ahead.


Paige Perillat Piratoine Wed 19 Oct 2022 7:11AM

Hi Danny,

Thank you for sharing, it’s actually very timely. We have been working with UMASS University and have some nanowires from them, which we have been able to successfully use to generate voltage on our alginate biomaterial (just yesterday). David and John have very interesting ideas and it would be terrific to collaborate. Where are they based by the way?

And how can we connect?

Thanks for thinking of us,


Le mar. 18 oct. 2022 à 22:42, Danny (via Loomio) a écrit :


Danny Thu 20 Oct 2022 1:56PM

I believe you can @ them in this thread and ask them yourself, but I haven't used Loomio as a guest so I'm unsure (mostly I imagine the guest functionality just letting external folks know about threads they may find interesting or asking for advice). This thread is public so you will have access if you create an account. I'm unsure if they have met to discuss these ideas yet, but that seemed like David wanted to have an 1:1 with John. I will reiterate that time polls for scheduling a time to meet are available from Loomio.


Paige Perillat Piratoine Sun 23 Oct 2022 11:36AM

@Danny thank you - very unfamiliar with Loomio. @JohnL - as I mentioned above, we're in contact with UMASS and they've been supporting us to replicate their studies and understand how pili behave on our biomaterial. Would be great to chat - We're trying to figure out how to scale production of that E.coli to liquid batch so we can get more pili to experiment with. UMASS have low capacity in terms of making this happen (PS - About us, we're a small biodesign collective composed of 4 women )


JohnL Thu 27 Oct 2022 9:47PM

@Paige Perillat Piratoine Hi Paige, sorry for the delay! I've got a recent research paper that might be relatively fascinating to you, as well as a specific application. Hope to chat or email soon.


JohnL Thu 27 Oct 2022 9:49PM

@Paige Perillat Piratoine I am in the US, same time zone as @Danny. I am active on linkedin.


Paige Perillat Piratoine Tue 8 Nov 2022 4:34PM

Hey @JohnL, same here sorry for the delay. I've added you on Linkedin (I think) so we can communicate there. but curious to see who else in this community is interested in these subjects too.


Poll Created Mon 7 Nov 2022 4:30PM

Is this thread helpful to organize your ideas and actions? Closed Mon 21 Nov 2022 4:01PM

by Danny Tue 22 Nov 2022 6:03PM

The folks who originally found connection on this thread still think it is useful for them; however a guest I invited (Paige) does not see the utility in this thread although they did express in a comment they are interested in seeing who in the Biotech Without Borders community is broadly interested in the thread topic.

Two lab members and one wider community member find this useful but ultimately unclear as to what the thread is hoping to accomplish.

In the interest of helping our lab members understand this thread further I will reiterate a communication that I had with John L over a common slack channel. I recommend that @JohnL and @Glyxon Biolabs edit that the context of the thread to better allow folks who read the context to understand if it is something they are interested in following or lending their support to. I am more than willing to attend a meeting with you two if you need guidance on how to do this. You can use a time poll to schedule a meeting.

Looking forward to reading about what you have discussed offline or anything else about the direction or ideas you have for this thread.

This thread has been open for a while but it seems like folks would rather communicate outside this platform. Just checking in to see for those who have previously participated if this is something useful for y'all.


Results Option % of voters Voters
Look good 33% 2 GB J
Not sure yet 50% 3 SH ID EJ
Not useful 17% 1 PPP
Undecided 0% 0  

6 of 6 people have voted (100%)


Ellen Jorgensen
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_check_options.Not sure yet">Not Sure Yet</span>
Tue 8 Nov 2022 11:11AM

Where is a full description of this project?


Susan Harrington
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_check_options.Not sure yet">Not Sure Yet</span>
Fri 18 Nov 2022 1:45PM


This project sounds interesting, and I would like to at least follow it. I'm not sure of the best way to do so.




Paige Perillat Piratoine Tue 8 Nov 2022 4:36PM

@Danny this is my first foray in Loomio and Biotech without Borders community so i've been a bit slow, but I think it's an interesting thread and wonder if it might be nice to keep it open to see who else is interested in this subject.


Danny Tue 8 Nov 2022 4:49PM

No need to write a comment to express this sentiment; I invited you to share your opinion on the thread through a poll which is posted above.

Happy to have you here as a guest on this thread. As I probably mentioned in the invite message John wanted to open this thread here and I thought of you so a I added you as a guest. However it doesn't seem like he wants to connect over this medium and I don't want the thread to be solely mediated through me which is why I thought I would ask the three of you who were interacting somewhat on the thread if you were still interested in engaging here. If you do want to explore this space more fully (and perhaps open your own thread) I would suggest you join the main group. https://www.loomio.com/biotech-without-borders/


Danny Fri 2 Dec 2022 7:43PM

@JohnL @Glyxon Biolabs Could you share with us a date we might expect the thread context to be updated or when you will share a summary about what you are discussing related to this project?


Susan Harrington Sat 3 Dec 2022 1:17PM


Item removed


Yuriy Fazylov Fri 23 Dec 2022 5:29PM


Any new developments?

I am kind of curious.

How much electrons, in S cm^(-1), have you been able to shuttle across the protein polymer? Does it stay intact after continuous use or on off repeat cycle?


Susan Harrington Wed 28 Dec 2022 1:03PM

Hi Yuriy,

This isn't my project, and I haven't yet read the basic papers in this field. But I am also curious about this subject, and the project sounds cool, which is why I was asking about it. I haven't seen any updates though.

Take care,



Yuriy Fazylov Tue 17 Jan 2023 4:40AM

I skimmed the literature on it a few years back but was convinced that it wasn't what I was up to. I can't recall why that was the case, but imagined that the pilus could be synthesized off of a rolling circle translation to give the wire continuity.


Danny Mon 20 Feb 2023 3:42PM

I had an email exchange with John and David. They are not interested in updating this thread and are not actively checking it anymore. I will close the thread and archive. I still think that it's an interesting idea that could be the nucleus of a project at BwoB, but it will need folks who are interested in putting work into it.